April 17, 2011

Perhaps this post should come with a “Warning: Highly Personal” label, but truthfully, I write this blog mostly for myself (it IS all about ME) and I have resigned myself to the possibility that I also may be the only person actually reading it. (OK, my Mom and my Dad read it too. Hi guys! See you for dinner in a bit! Love you! And Sunday sauce–hint hint!)

The big news is that in February I moved into a new house, which explains the lack of posts these past few months.  This move is entwined with a significant change in my life:  15 months ago Thing 1 and Thing 2’s father (whom I will henceforth refer to as “Thing Daddy”, mostly because he came up with that nickname as a preferable alternative to “Baby Daddy”) and I decided to separate. Before you get all depressed or worried that this whole post is going to be some bitter country song-like lament about  a marriage gone bad and hard times in Jessica-ville I will reassure you that TD and I remain quite amicable; we agree that our first priority is successfully co-parenting Thing 1 and Thing 2. (And by “successfully co-parenting” I mean not effing those two up any worse than we would have had we stayed together.)  We are working with a mediator to draw up our divorce agreement and it seems that mediation is a less acrimonious and more empowering process for parents than the multiple attorneys/family court route.

TD and I decided that for the first year or so of our separation we would do something called nesting.  Basically this means Thing 1 and Thing 2 (our baby birds) stayed in the house (the “nest”, or, in mediation “the marital residence”) while TD and I moved in and out, depending on who had custody at that time. They say that children of divorce learn to adapt, and I now believe that nesting parents acquire that skill as well.  For over a year my belongings were scattered between two residences at any given time, and I began to store odd essentials–shoes, make-up, unpaid bills, food– in my car, since it was the only place I knew I would always be.

Most times when I was not at The House with Thing 1 and 2, I was staying with…wait for it…MY PARENTS. I KNOW! I could have written an ENTIRE BLOG (or a hit sitcom) about being a 30-something soon-to-be single woman living with her parents, but, regrettably wisely, I didn’t. One, I don’t know when I might need to call on them for money or a place to crash (veering into country music territory again), and two, I would like things to remain amicable with TD, and posting my single life shenanigans on the internet didn’t seem like the way to go.

The lengthy 13 month nesting period is a testament to both mine and TD’s commitment to our kids, to our straight-up procrastination in deciding who would keep The House, and to my inherent fabulousness.  (Juuust kidding, TD, in case you happen to be reading!) Ultimately we agreed that TD would remain in the marital residence.  I purchased a “single residence” nearby that allows Thing 1 and 2 to remain close to their friends and their schools. And which on a selfish practical level cuts down on the time I need to spend driving them back and forth when they CONSTANTLY forget things.  (Actually, all the packing and unpacking TD and I had to do while nesting means we are both empathetic to our kids having to now divide their time between Mom’s house and Dad’s house.)

Finally, out of respect for everyone’s privacy I will simply say that the past year has been one of transition and adjustment for all of us, and as you might imagine it has been filled with ups and downs, heartache and healing.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are doing well; we are all lucky to have the unwavering support of our wonderful family and loyal friends, and I am grateful to all of them for looking out for us in general, and for the boys in particular.

OK…enough of this separation business and back to ME!  Two weeks after the move I was on the go again, to NYC for a work recruitment trip with Karyn.  You guys know how much I LOVE New York–and Karyn–but this was no “Jess and Karyn Do The Big City” fun extravaganza.  It was more like, “Jess and Karyn are asleep by 9:30 p.m. in Manhattan, exhausted from having to navigate in the cruel city and its heavily congested outer-environs where crazypants drivers flip you the bird for no discernible reason and are also drained from 8 hours of non-stop perky talking to prospective students and their parents.”  That? Would make a TERRIBLE movie.  Imagine how we felt, living that trip! Aside from the shopping excursion to H & M and the dinner in Times Square (after all, we aren’t animals!) those were the hardest two days I have worked possibly ever. Karyn maintains that she still isn’t right from that trip. Thank goodness we were together, and even more miraculously , we remain BFFs even after that weekend.

So understandably during the trip I missed my new house and wished I was home bonding with it. (I completely forgot to mention that my house has a HOT TUB! I know! Can you believe it? Talk about a match made in Jessica heaven!)  I became even more homesick as I repeatedly described Buffalo to many people who had never been there before.  Metro New Yorkers have some rather odd preconceived notions about WNY. Of course the weather is a HUGE source of concern and comedy (I never tire of Buffalo snow jokes!) , but over the years I have often been asked questions like, “Do you have malls up there? How about hotels?”  and my favorite, “Is it true that in the winter you all travel in underground tunnels like miners or moles?” When I talk about my hometown to outsiders it is not a sales pitch, even if I am recruiting. I genuinely love WNY for all of its flaws, friendliness, fun, foibles, and everything in between, and I try to convey this heartfelt appreciation to anyone who will listen.

On Sunday, March 13, while meeting with prospective students on Long Island I received several texts from family and friends back in Buffalo that Sabres legend Rick Martin had unexpectedly passed away.  I didn’t have time to fully absorb the enormity of this news until later that night at the airport, when I had some quiet time and was scrolling through Facebook and Twitter on my iHEARTphone. The communal sadness of the day sunk in as  I read post after post from friends, family, and complete strangers about his passing and its personal impact. Even though this moment was clearly not AT ALL about me, I felt as if I should have been at the Ottawa/Sabres game that afternoon to see the team tributes to Rick Martin and to share in the grieving with my fellow fans and Buffalonians. As I posted on Facebook, it was one of those days that you just longed to be “back home in Buffalo.”

Home is where the Sabres schedule is

When at 1 a.m. I finally returned to the Hot Tub House (HTH amongst friends), I realized that between missing it, talking about it, and wishing I was there, I had been thinking about home all weekend in NYC. The next morning, on my way to work for the 8th day IN A ROW (shouldn’t someone call Amnesty International on my behalf?) I decided that whether it is a place, a community, a house, or a state of mind, home is simply where you want to be most of all. Especially if that place has a hot tub.



  1. I must admit I read it. Every word. Figured it would be entirely on the Sabres, and pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. Awesome read. Kudos to you guys for your solution!

  2. Great blog. I can tell by reading it’s not just about you and the HTH! I’ve been down Divorce Lane myself and know how hard these things can be on children, parents, and family. The vast emotions we go through are many and they can take there toll without good support. I realize you don’t know me well, except for twitter and our Sabres fandom, but am glad to have met you. I hope for all the best for your children, you and your family during this tough transition. If you ever need to chat, tweet me!

  3. TD approved!

    I have to admit I’m starting to get jealous of the hot tub.

  4. Chilly Billy–thanks so much for your kind words! I appreciate you reading it and sticking with it–it ended up being a looong post, but I had a lot to say. Next one will be all about the Sabres. 🙂

    Tonester–Thanks! And thank you for sharing your experience and for your words of encouragement! I appreciate it. I am glad to have met you too!

  5. TD–Glad to have your stamp of approval. You SHOULD be jealous of the hot tub. It rocks! 🙂

  6. Great post Jessica! Next time you are in NYC just remind all those New Yorkers that Buffalo is in THE SAME STATE! I have to do this on daily basis. It’s like they really don’t know this….
    Buffalo will always be home for us and it is all about friends, family and loving where you are at.
    OK – GO SABRES! Game 4 puck drop any minute now…hope you are there.

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